Emotional Wellness is the ability to understand ourselves and cope with the challenges life can bring. The ability to acknowledge and share feelings of anger, fear, sadness or stress; hope, love, joy and happiness in a productive manner contributes to our Emotional Wellness. Education is full of continuous organizational and professional changes, expectations and uncertainties occurring at an ever-increasing pace. As educators work to increase resilience in their students, they are often faced with examining their own capacity.
The School District of Fort Atkinson (SDFA) values its employees, with wellness as an area of intentional focus to help employees manage and maintain their emotional wellness and build resilience. Work in an educational environment, no matter what the role, can be challenging, and we know that an employee who is emotionally well will hold on to good times and appreciate the good times longer.
In order to provide Emotional Wellness resources to staff, the SDFA utilizes the Compassion Resilience Toolkit.
Compassion resilience for those in the education field is:1. The ability to maintain our physical, emotional and mental well-being (using energy productively) while compassionately identifying and addressing the stressors that are barriers to learning for students,
2. Identifying and addressing the barriers to caregivers/parents and colleagues being able to effectively partner on behalf of children, and
3. Identifying, preventing, and minimizing compassion fatigue within ourselves.
The District provides education and learning opportunities rooted in the Compassion Resilience framework. This resource is available to all employees and is continually shared through staff meetings and newsletters.
In addition to utilizing the Compassion Resilience Toolkit as part of our framework, the SDFA offers a robust Employee Assistance Program through our disability vendor which provides no-cost, confidential help for a variety of needs and concerns including anxiety, depression, addiction, child- and elder-care, family conflict, relationship problems, and stress management.
SDFA has also engaged in an exciting partnership with our health plan to make a wellness clinic accessible to participating staff and their dependents. This wellness clinic offers same day/next day and in-person/virtual appointments, which provides low or no-cost physical and mental health resources.
(source: SDFA’s Lisa Hollenberger, Director of Pupil Services & Special Education & Mandy Harper, Director of Human Resources)